by Gene Luen Yang
At a banquet to celebrate the new coalition government of Yu Dao, Avatar Aang sees the spirit of Yangchen. Although her lips move, Aang can't hear her words of warning. He realizes that the festival celebrating her life hasn't been held in over a century, so he invites his friends and new acolytes to join him in a traditional, Air Nomad celebration. Friction between Aang and Toph quickly erupts as Aang's reverence for the past reminds Toph of unpleasant memories.
When a factory is built on land once sacred to the Air Nomads, the river water becomes polluted and earthquakes shake the building. After an ominous vision that Aang believes Yangchen brought to him, he demands the factory be dismantled. Toph sides with the factory and modernity as Aang stands for tradition, trapping their friends in the middle of their disagreement.
In many ways, the fight between Toph and Aang is one that I've been waiting for since the third season of the TV show. Toph has established herself to be a determined young woman, always facing forward and dodging demons from her past. I've always wondered why she's determined to be as unladylike as possible. Here, we begin to see that the polite world she grew up in was a cage, with the manners and rules of good behavior the bars trapping Toph. Every time she questioned a decision while growing up in her parents' home, she was denied because of tradition. No wonder Aang's calls to remember traditions – granted, ones that are long forgotten to most of the world – irritate her so.
The trade-off is that sometimes, Aang's crazy traditions exist for a reason. The next volume of The Rift promises some great action and more myths from the world of Avatar, and I can't wait to continue the story.
5 out of 5 stars
To read more about Avatar: the Last Airbender - The Rift, Part One, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa
2012: Fashionista Piranha on hiatus until May 24th
2011: In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
2010: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn
2009: News: Book-related Statistics